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Should Have Been Bigger: Charli XCX’s Mesmerizing “Nuclear Seasons”

Charli XCX seemed like an overnight success when she conquered pop radio with her now iconic hook on Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” in 2014. But, by that point, the singer-songwriter had already been in the game for years. In fact, Charlotte Aitchison (her real name) had been releasing music since 2008. And while “Fancy” put her on the map, the 25-year-old had been long-overdue for a commercial breakthrough thanks to underrated gems like “Nuclear Seasons.”

When you think of Charli XCX, her infectious and poppy singles spring to mind. But “Nuclear Seasons” takes a very different approach with its dark wave, industrial throwback vibe. While still synth-pop, the banger is a bit more avant-garde and experimental than “Boys” or “After The Afterparty.” The track correlates a break-up to nuclear fallout, which is as witch-house as it gets. Paired with a lo-fi, colorfully haunting music video that seemed plucked out of the ’80s, “Nuclear Seasons” checked a lot of the boxes to give the then 19-year-old her breakout hit.

And yet, other than being featured on a Gossip Girl episode, it didn’t go anywhere. Maybe it was too out there and interesting at a time where everything sounded like David Guetta produced it. In 2013, Charli included “Nuclear Seasons” on her debut studio album, True Romance. A year later, the “Vroom Vroom” diva finally gained the recognition she deserved by featuring on the song of the summer. However, the apocalyptic “Nuclear Seasons” deserved to be just as big. Revisit it below.

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